Archive for June, 2007

Good Internet marketing strategy starts with recognizing your customer’s goals

What is the very first step to take when you decide to either build a new website or evaluate the old one? Think about only two things:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is their goal?

It is so simple, yet so easy to forget. It is all about the customer…not you. It is natural to lose sight of the customer in the web building “process.” There is so much to do! You have to find a webmaster, help communicate management’s passion, find the right marketing message, set sales goals, and think about your customer service requirements. Then you need to take pictures, write meaningful content, research keywords, approve design….on and on and on.

When all this is done you have to ask the question… what’s in it for the customer? If the answer is not clear, you have to go back a few steps and start over. Wouldn’t it be easier to start with that question first?

Before you look at your website do a couple of exercises:

  1. Write down the description of three different kinds of customers and why they are looking for your website. What do they want to get out of the time spent there? Your phone number and location? Product specification? Do they want to meet you? Learn about your capabilities, industry knowledge, investment opportunities or purchase product?
  1. Next describe in detail who these “typical” customers are. Make up a name, assign them an age, and a job. What level of education do they have? Where are they located? Make them as real as possible and include things like web experience, product (or service) knowledge, and market and application knowledge.
  1. Then write descriptions of goals you believe they have and include a realistic level of detail like: “Bob is 54 year old engineer with a degree from Purdue working for a large aerospace manufacture who is looking for a reliable, cost effective way to get parts made closer to his office. He has lots of practical experience but is lousy at using the internet…” Then, have an experienced associate do the same and compare your notes.

It is just as important to know the customers (or business) you don’t want. Describe those people too.

In the end, you want a customer-oriented website that meets their needs and expectations. An effective website will speak to the right kind of customer, answering their questions and leading them easily to what they want or need from you. Do this well and these internet visitors will reward you with leads and additional business. Isn’t that the bottom line of what a business wants to achieve with a successful internet marketing strategy?

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admin on June 29th 2007 in Web Strategy

There are no guarantees in marketing so you play for the accumulative effects

Most marketing efforts deliver a limited return and have a high cost-per-lead. Here is a quick sample of statistics that I am familiar with to support this point

  • A National Retail Association study several years ago showed that the average retailer spends 3% of their gross revenue on advertising and less than 17% of customers visiting a retail store have seen any print, TV, or radio advertising about what is on sale that day.
  • Brigham Young University School of Retailing did a study showing that less that 30% of retail customers read point-of-purchase displays.
  • Effective direct mail programs net a 3% response and lower than a 1% purchase rate.

Below is a short article from the Internet Retailer about cost-per-lead.

Thursday, October 26, 2006          

Search Still Most Efficient by Far at Acquiring Customers, Study Says

At an average cost per acquisition of $8.50, Internet search was shown to be more than twice as efficient as the next-best marketing channel in a study of five channels by Piper Jaffray & Co.

The study, “The New eCommerce Decade: The Age of Micro Targeting,” which was released earlier this month, compared the customer acquisition costs of search, Yellow Pages, online display ads, e-mail and direct mail.  

Yellow Pages came in as the second-most efficient at $20 per customer acquisition, followed by online display ads, $50; e-mail, $60; and direct mail, $70.

In other matters related to search, the study found that consumers are becoming more likely to use Internet search to find products and services, rather than going to online marketplaces. And with the growth of local search, the current number of 700,000 online advertisers could reach 2-4 million over the next five years.  

The real end game in all marketing strategies is mind share.  When a need arises you want customers to remember you, or know how to find you. That is why it takes time and repetitive effort to get the results you want.

How will they remember you? Some people might remember visiting your booth at a tradeshow every year for the last three years. Others might remember your small black and white ad in the back issue of a trade magazine you advertise in consistently. Still others might save one “notable” postcard or sample you have mailed 3 times in a file. All these traditional forms of advertising work well if they are implemented over and over again. To be effective, each has to be repeated a minimum of three times…and more if possible.  The results must be judged over months and years…not days and weeks. If you are not prepared to repeat a strategy, do not do it!

Today, a growing number of customers will find you on the internet either by remembering your URL or by using a search engine. Ideally, by typing in a description of what they want, your website will be listed on the first page. There are many factors that determine where your URL lands on a search return page. I have listed some of the most important  ones on my website: http://www.reynoldsgroupweb.com/key_factors.htm . There are 55 other techniques not mentioned that may effect how high your website lands on a search page too. However your position on any given search result will not be guaranteed if you do some or all these things. Why? Because the internet is a very dynamic environment

1.        Google’s and Yahoo’s search algorithms are continually evolving

2.        Competitors’ SEO strategies are continually evolving

3.        The non-competitors, who share your marketing space and compete for the same keywords and phrases  SEO strategies are continually evolving

4.        The quality/quantity of the inbound links to your website

5.        The quality of your URL name (length and age)

6.        The richness of content on your site

7.        The lenght of  time it takes a search engines to respond to any change on your website.

8.        How many times an hour your website is clicked on…in the end it is a popularity contest!

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is like anything else.  It is the accumulative effect of all your efforts that will get you on the first page of any search. National figures show that most websites have a 10% chance of landing on the first page of a search when searchers use the exact description of what they want…and the website has. Through persistent tweeking, updating and research this percentage can be improved.

What is the best marketing strategy for you? Most likely it is a multi-pronged marketing program that will promote a consistent, clear message using the internet and other mediums to get the message out to the most potential clients. It shouldn’t take a huge marketing budget. However plan to spend a little money every month in a well targeted and consistent manner. It is always better to spend less, more often, than once on a “big splash”.

Finally it is important to keep track of how many leads or sales you are getting from each induvual marketing effort you try. Thus you should MEASURE MEASURE MEASURE  to gauge your results, find out what is working and fine-tune your strategy.

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admin on June 25th 2007 in Web Strategy

Persistence in Sales and Marketing

So…Is there ever going to be an “Easy Button?” Is instant gratification the end-all-be- all? Can we know the whole story in a sound bite.  Is the best way to get rich the lottery or a good law suit? Can we get smart and achieve success by just showing up to a good school? The answer is not, “No” but, “Hell No!”

Success never comes “overnight” Sometimes it may seem so on the surface but look deeper; I bet there is a back-story of hard work and endurance. Being smart, athletic, and/or talented isn’t enough. All of that must be accompanied by hard work and persistence to be great. Ask Hank Aaron, Gandhi, Tiger Woods, Albert Einstein or Pavarotti how they reached the top… They will say hard work and persistence.  My favorite cartoon hero was a quick-draw bounty hunter from the old west. His friend called him lucky after surviving a hairy gun battle. He said, “A man makes his own luck,” (ladies that goes for you too) and it is true. How do you make luck…with hard work and persistence.

The secret of success is constancy of purpose.

Benjamin Disraeli 

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Thomas Alva Edison

I use to say to my boy scouts,”Attitude, not aptitude, determines altitude.” Step one is to believe in yourself. Step two is, do not fear failing, but fear not trying.  It is ok to fail —  hopefully you learned something. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again! (I love that song)  Do not let the fear of failure freeze you! Step three is get busy…be of good cheer and Get’erdone!

Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.

Sophia Loren

(A picture of Sophia in a wet tee-shirt hung on my bedroom wall from the 8th grade on — but I never appreciated that she was more than a pretty face. Persistence… I love that in a woman.)

My favorite true story of persistence is a book called Endurance. It is the story of Lord Ernest H. Shackleton, the shipwrecked captain of a failed Antarctica expedition. After his ship was crushed in frozen ice, for well over a year, he lead all 50 of his men off the ice to safety. This man knew persistence.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

 

Some times, even when you are losing, you must keep going. Look at George Washington.  He is the only general to ever win a war by retreating from battle He did not have the resources to beat the English, yet he kept his men together and they persisted…until he could win.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

John Quincy Adams

What a difference a day makes.  (I love that song too) Things change, they always do. Stand back, take a deep breath and let time help you. Open your eyes, clear your mind, listen to your heart, be ready… and in an hour, day, or even a few weeks, things will change. The whole playing field may shift and victory is possible, but you must be in the game.

So how does this all relate to sales and Marketing? The difference between a good salesman and a great salesman is persistence.  One more call, one more follow-up, one more try. It pays off to keep going in sales. It is a numbers game. Persistence will beat charm, good looks, or brains every time. Read the books of the great salesmen like Tommy Hopkins, Zig Ziegler, or hear stories about Milton or Jim Reynolds, and you will see how persistence works.. You just have to keep knocking on every door and never stop asking for the order.

The same is true for marketing.  A great marketing program requires persistence.  It is better to run a small ad many times than do a big flashy ad once. It is better to send several simple postcards than one fancy brochure. And it is better to rank high on a free search engine than build a flashy website. The investment will be the same but the results will be much greater.

To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.

Benjamin Franklin

Martin Luther King once said, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea that has reached its time.  How did a great idea reach it time?  Persistence!

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas Alva Edison

So I say, if your heart says go… “Press on.”

Education will not (take the place of persistence); the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge